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Amitabh Bachchan and Salim-Javed, ’70s era ‘spoiled the definition’ of masculinity, says Nakuul Mehta: ‘Showed us what we shouldn’t be’

Actor Nakuul Mehta, who is best known for his work on television, spoke about the idea of masculinity that Hindi movies have ingrained in the audience’s minds. He said that growing up, when boys his age would look up to the biggest male film stars, he’d idolise Madhuri Dixit.

In an appearance on Be a Man Yaar, Nakuul said that the idea of the Angry Young Man, originated in Hindi films by writers Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, actually taught people the wrong idea of masculinity. He said that that as great as Amitabh Bachchan was in the film Deewaar, he’d always be more interested in Shashi Kapoor’s character, without whose support the protagonist wouldn’t be as strong as he is.

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He said, “Pop-culture and films have somewhat spoiled the definition of what it means to be a man. And while Salim-Javed were phenomenal writers… Salim-Javed, Bachchan, that era of the ’70s really showed us what we shouldn’t be. Mard ko dard nahi hota (boys don’t cry)… Bachchan’s roles were so aspirational, and it fed into this image of what it means to be a man.”

Nakuul continued, “I was a fan of Shashi Kapoor, always. While you can’t take your eyes off Bachchan in Deewar, Bachchan works because of the dignity that Shashi Kapoor’s character brings. The truth, the dignity, the vulnerability, the strength that he brings. Unfortunately, women have to play that to us in real life.” He said that he has observed these qualities in his mother, his sister, his wife and mother-in-law, because women allow themselves to be more vulnerable than men.

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Nakuul is best known for starring in the second and third seasons of Bade Achhe Lagte Hain, and is married to childhood sweetheart Jankee Parekh. They have a son named Sufi, who was born in 2021.

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